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14 SEPTEMBER 2015

Design for Action: designing the immaterial artefact

"Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) the mouse for the Apple computer.

But as it became clear that smart, effective design was behind the success of many commercial goods, companies began employing it in more and more contexts. High-tech firms that hired designers to work on hardware (to, say, come up with the shape and layout of a smartphone) began asking them to create the look and feel of user-interface software. Then designers were asked to help improve user experiences. Soon firms were treating corporate strategy making as an exercise in design. Today design is even applied to helping multiple stakeholders and organizations work better as a system.

This is the classic path of intellectual progress. Each design process is more complicated and sophisticated than the one before it. Each was enabled by learning from the preceding stage. Designers could easily turn their minds to graphical user interfaces for software because they had experience designing the hardware on which the applications would run. Having crafted better experiences for computer users, designers could readily take on nondigital experiences, like patients' hospital visits. And once they learned how to redesign the user experience in a single organization, they were more prepared to tackle the holistic experience in a system of organizations."

(Tim Brown and Roger Martin, 2015, Harvard Business Review)

A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue (pp.56–64) of Harvard Business Review.

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TAGS

Bill BuxtonCharles EamesCoco Chanelcomplex systems • David Kelley • design history • design intervention • design processdesign thinking • design-oriented approach • design-oriented thinkingdesigned artefactethnographic design approachFrank Lloyd Wright • genuinely innovative strategies • graphical user interfaceHarvard Business ReviewHerbert Simon • holistic user experience • IDEOimmateriality • intervention design • iPoditerative prototyping • iterative rapid-cycle prototyping • iTunes Store • Jeff Hawkins • look and feellow-fidelity prototype • low-resolution prototype • nondigital experiences • PalmPilot • Paul Randpersonal digital assistantphysical objectsrapid prototyping • Raymond Loewy • redesignRichard Buchananrole of the designerservice designuser experienceuser experience designuser feedbackuser interface designwicked problems

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 DECEMBER 2013

Design genius or author as editor: filtering and synthesising?

"In 'What is an author?' [4], Michel Foucault says we are 'accustomed to presenting the author as a genius.' We see the author as the 'genial creator' of work in which he gives us, 'with infinite wealth and generosity,' an inexhaustible world of meanings. (Being 'creative' always has a positive ring, whatever is produced!) Foucault says that the author does not 'precede' the work: ideas and meanings are already there and the author's role is to 'choose,' to filter and synthesise to create output. (Foucault also emphasises 'limiting' and 'excluding'). The author's role is to limit the proliferation of meanings and present a personal view of the world. Yet the 'genius author' is represented as a continual source of invention–the opposite of his genuine function."

(Monika Parrinder, 2000, Eye Magazine)

TAGS

April Greiman • art and designart market • art star • artisanartist • artist myth • artistic solutions • Atelier Populaire • auteur theoryauthor as editorauthor as geniusavant-garde artists • being creative • blur boundaries • bohemian • Brigit Fowler • Bruce Mau • canonisation • celebritycliche • constructed idea • creative geniuscreative individuals • creative intuition • cult of the author • cult of the individual • cultural elite • Cunst Art • cutting-edge innovationsDavid Carsondesign community • Design Quarterly • design star • designer as author • editing through selectionEuropean EnlightenmentEye (magazine)fine art • Fran Cottell • genial creatorgenius • genius author • genius creator • genius mythgenius of the individual • genius status • graphic authorship • graphic design • Griselda Pollock • Hard Werken • history of ideas • ID Magazine • ingenue • innate talent • inspired visionaries • intuitioninventionJohn Maeda • John Walker • legitimate discipline • liberal artslone genius • lone pioneer • madman • maverick graphic designer • Michael Howe • Michael RockMichel Foucaultmodernismmyth of the geniusNeville Brodynon-conformist • ordinary mortal • Paul RandPentagram Designpersonapersonal expressionpersonal visionpersonalityPeter SavillePierre Bourdieupioneerromantic notion of the artist • Rozsika Parker • self-aggrandisement • self-taught • semi-divine status • solitary • spiritual insight • status • talenttaste (sociology) • Terry Jones • Tomato (design agency)tortured soul • ubermeister • visionary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 JUNE 2013

Display: a collection of rare mid 20th century graphic design books

"Display is a curated collection of important modern, mid 20th century graphic design books, periodicals, advertisements and ephemera. Documenting, preserving and providing public access to these original materials will raise the profile of Graphic Design as a source of educational, historical and scholarly analysis for teachers, students, designers and independent researchers. From the rational to the experimental to the playful–our collection is varied and represents a distinct point of view about mid–century graphic design, typography and beyond."

(Patricia Belen and Greg D'Onofrio)

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TAGS

20th centuryadvertisement designadvertising designaestheticsAlan FletcherAlbe Steiner • Alberto Gennari • Aldo Calabresi • Alvin Lustig • Andreas His • Anthony Froshaug • Anton Stankowski • Antonio Boggeri • Atanasio Soldati • Attilio Rossi • Battista Pallavera • Ben Benn • Betoniere Magutt • Bob Noordabook cover designbook designBruno Munari • Carl Bernard Graf • Carlo Dradi • Carlo Pirovano • Carlo Vivarelli • Cinturato Pirelli • communication designcurated collectiondesign aestheticsdesign collectiondesign ephemeradesign for filmdesign formalism • Display (site) • Drei Mal Pro • Eckhard Jung • editorial design • Einladung • Elaine Lustig Cohen • Emil Ruder • Ennio Lucini • Enrico Bona • Enrico Kaneclin • Enzo Mari • Erik Nitsche • Eugenio Carmi • exhibition designformalist design aesthetics • Franco Grignani • Franco Maria Ricci • Fridolin Müller • Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart • Giancarlo Iliprandi • Giorgio Host-Ivessich • Giovanni Broggi • Giovanni Fraschini • Giovanni Frecchiami • Giovanni Pintori • Grafa International • graphic design • graphic design books • graphic design collectiongraphic design history • graphic design periodicals • Grete e Horacio Coppola • Gruetta Girevole • Guido Bergossi • Gyorgy Kepes • Hans Conrad • Hans Neuburg • Hardoy Chair • Heinz Waibl • Herbert Bayer • Herbert Kapitzki • Herbert Matter • Herman Miller Collection • Hermann Eidenbenz • HfG • Hiromu Hara • Hochschule fur Gestaltung • Horacio Coppola • Igildo Biesele • Ikko Tanaka • Ilio Negri • information design • Italo Zannier • Jan Tschichold • Jeder Dieser Drei • Josef Muller-Brockmann • Karl Gerstner • Ladislav Sutnar • layout design • Lester Beall • Lora Lamm • Luigi Minardi • Luigi Oriani • Luigi Veronesi • magazine artmagazine illustrationmagazine layout • Manfred Winter • Mario Perondi • Massimo Vignellimaterial cultureMax Bill • Max Huber • Michele Provinciali • mid 20th-century • Miglia di Monza • modern design • modern graphic design • modern graphic design collection • Morton Goldsholl • Nelly Rudin • Noel Martin • Otl Aicher • Pasquale Casonato • Paul Rand • Paul Renner • Paul Schuitema • Piero Gandolfi • Piet Zwart • Pino Tovaglia • Randolfo Asti • rare books • Raymond GFeller • Remo Muratore • Richard Paul Lohse • Robert Buchler • Roberto Sambonet • Roland Aeschlimann • Ryuichi Yamashiro • Schweizer Grafiker • Sepp Deimel • Siegfried Odermatt • Swiss Style • Tomas Gonda • Tonino Boschiroli • twentieth-century design • typographic art • typographyvisual communication • Walter Cyliax • Will Burtin • William Fleming • Wim CrouwelXanti Schawinsky • Yoshio Hayakawa • Yusaku Kamekura • Yves Zimmermann

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MAY 2011

Communication Design: defined, standardised, professionally certified?

"So now there's yet someone else adding to the pile of what they feel is 'the' definition, when it's really just 'their' definition. I have mine, Bass has his. Rand had his. I bet Armin has his. Bierut, Scher, Danziger,, Bantjes has hers, and the list goes on an on and each definition (as well as the 'definitive' term) is always different, in semantics at least. The philosophy itself varies somewhat less, but it's no less tragic.

This should be a call, loud and clear within our industry, for certification and standardization."

(Michael Holdren, 18 April 2008, comment at Tiny Gigantic)

Holdren, M. (18 April 2008). "A comment replying to 'Communication design, the definitive definition.'" Retrieved 21 May 2011, 2011, from http://www.tinygigantic.com/2008/04/17/communication–design–the–definitive–definition/#comment–27369.

[Michael Holdren attacks Josh Kamler's effort to define 'communication design' as a singularly identifiable discursive field (Kamler, 17 April 2008). In doing so Holdren criticises the effort for being simply a personal definition. This is an appropriate critique given that Kamler fails to draw on available literature in the field. In his comment Holdren calls for communication design to be defined through its standardisation and professional certification. In Basil Bernstein's terms this can be understood as a call for regulation through 'strongly classified singulars'. While this might appear logical from a professional perspective both efforts must be seen as being misguided because they ignore the essential character of communication design. Both efforts are attempts to stall the process of 'disciplinary recontextualisation' which continues to form and reshape the boundaries of communication design and which provides its essential utility as a means for adapting to change.]

Kamler, J. (17 April 2008). "Communication design, the definitive definition." Retrieved 21 May 2011, 2011, from http://www.tinygigantic.com/2008/04/17/communication–design–the–definitive–definition/.

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TAGS

Armin Hofmann • certificationclassificationcommunication designdisciplinary classificationdiscourseJosh Kamler • Language in Common (website) • Louis Danziger • Marian Bantjes • Michael Bierut • Michael Holdren • mutablePaul RandPaula Scher • personal definition • porous boundariesprofessional association for designprofessional certificationrecontextualisationrecontextualisation of knowledgeregionalisation of knowledge • regionalised discourse • regulationSaul BasssingularsstandardisationTiny Gigantic (website)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 DECEMBER 2008

Paul Rand: the importance of understanding the relationship between form and content

"For his posthumous induction into The One Club''s Hall of Fame for 2007, Imaginary Forces created a short film, combining original animation with a videotaped interview of Rand himself, that encapsulated his unique and timeless contribution to the design community."
(Imaginary Forces)

[Design formalist Paul Rand describes how he understands the art of graphic design.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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